When Paul Page was let go from ESPN’s National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) telecasts, a big sigh of relief went up in much of the drag racing world. But who would replace the aging Page?
ESPN didn't have far to look as long-time pit reporter Dave Rieff is being promoted to a new role on the telecasts as the announcing anchor on ESPN2’s television coverage of the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Series (source: NHRA).
Alongside Rieff will once again be Mike Dunn who will offer his excellent color commentating for the 12th season in the ESPN booth. The combination of Rieff and Dunn isn't new since ESPN3's coverage (internet) had the two working together in the booth. Gary Gerould, John Kernan and Jamie Howe will also be back for another year, reporting from the pits and trackside.
Along with formatting changes to qualifying and eliminations, ESPN will change the focus of the telecasts with a new approach, showcasing the stars of the sport and include strategies plus more technical examination.
The 67 year old Page had come over from the IndyCar series a half-a-dozen years ago, where he had been a reporter for roughly three decades. Page had replaced Marty Reid who paradoxically had moved over to take Pages place in IndyCar. Reid then started handling NASCAR Cup duties on ESPN but was replaced in that position. In fact, Marty Reid, who was a fairly popular announcer while doing NHRA telecasts, was rumored to be coming back. Obviously that’s not the case and as it stands, Reid will continue to work on the Nationwide Series telecasts. It’s not known at this time, but Page will likely continue to cover snowmobile racing on grass and hot dog eating contests for ESPN.
Before Reid took over announcing duties, famous personalities such as Bob Frey, Steve Evans and Dave McClelland had been the longtime great television faces and voices of the NHRA.
ESPN is televised in 182 countries around the world along with the American Forces Network. The new NHRA drag racing season begins with the Winternationals on February 14-17 at Pomona, California.